I have just spent the weekend resting and reconnecting with my family after 4 days at the Illinois Computing Educators Conference 2014: Connect to Learn #ICE14. Each year, I come away swimming in ideas, connections and exhaustion!
This year, for the first time, I presented a half day workshop with two of my amazing colleagues, Jenna Hacker @jennahacker and Carrie Baughcum @heck_awesome on "How to Speak the Twitter". It was such a rewarding experience! The workshop had interested educators who knew the power of Twitter, but needed help managing the noise and understanding how to get into the conversation flow.
Every time I even think about presenting I feel like I really need to step out of my comfort zone.
Sometimes I wonder who wants to hear from me? Or, what do I have to offer when there are so many amazing educator speakers out there who are so much more respected than I. After this weekend of reflection, I have come to the conclusion that I connect with people each time I present. The teachers I help, then become part of my PLN, and I then get to learn from them in turn. Also, as innovators it is imperative to share what we are doing. If we are to move education in the direction we know it needs to go, then the people who are changing their pedagogy have a responsibility to share what they know.
Those who know me think of me as chatty, gregarious and outspoken. But, the truth is, I sometimes have trouble picking up the phone to call for pizza. The thought of speaking to a crowd of people I don't know, makes me feel paralyzed. Then, once I get going, take the first leap into the session, I get this feeling of confidence, almost like a high.
I would encourage any one of you to reach out, present, share and connect with other teachers. If I can do it, so can you! I feel strongly enough about connecting with others to venture to say out loud (well in a blog style out loud) if you are not connecting with other teachers at conferences or on social media, then you are going to become obsolete. The idea that you already know everything because you have been a teacher for a long time is wrong! We need to change our thinking. Gone are the days of copying what you did last year for this year. When you connect with other educators, your eyes become open to the shift in education from worksheets, to project based learning. Real world connections for kids. Students want to share what they know outside the walls of their schools. They want to connect with experts, to share their dreams for the world. A poster board project just can't do that! Getting connected changed my professional life. It can do the same for you!
If you are thinking about becoming connected through Twitter, check out our How To Speak The Twitter Presentation, or our Thinglink. It is a great place to start!